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The Jews of Żmigród


Nowy Żmigród in blue. This is presently the Krosno district, Galicia, Poland


The meaning of the name Żmigród: Gro'd refers to “town” while “Z'mi” refers to the Polish word “z'mija,” which means snake. Thus Żmigród means Snaketown or Vipertown. The symbol of the hamlet is indeed an imaginary looking snake. Żmigród, near Jaslo, Galicia, is already mentioned in 1305 and in 1332, was granted the status of a city, according to Andzej Potocki, author of the book “Zydzi w Podkarpackie,” or Jews in the Sub-Carpathian region of Poland. Żmigród is situated along the trading routes leading to the Ukraine in the east and Hungary in the south. Żmigród received the status of a city in the 14th century. The entire region including the city belonged to a local feudal family. The city developed rapidly during the century due to the growing import of Hungarian wines. Żmigród was destroyed during the Hungarian invasion of 1474 and burned down in 1522 and in 1577. In spite of these disasters, the hamlet kept growing physically and economically until the end of the 18th century. Then, the new roads and railroads bypassed the area and relegated the area to stagnation. The economic stagnation continued without interruption until World War II.

Jews appeared in Żmigród in the second half of the 16th century. With the end of the century, there was already a full-fledged Jewish community. The community built a synagogue in the year 1606 and established a cemetery. In 1676 there were already 33 Jewish families in Żmigród. The Jewish population steadily grew and by 1765 reached a population of 683 people. The table below shows the growth of the Jewish population of Żmigród through the ages.


Year Jews Non-Jews
1765 683 ?
1880 1300 2508
1900 1240 2280
1921 940 1959


The statistics clearly indicate Jewish growth in Żmigród until 1880, and then a decline set in that continued until World War II. The general population also declined, indicating the economic stagnation of the place.


The Moorish-style building was the synagogue of Żmigród. The small building is the beit hamidrash, or study center, that was also used as a synagogue. Entire complex torched by the Germans during World War Two


Most of the Christian population worked in agricultural, lumbering and spinning activities. They inhabited the fringes of Żmigród and the surrounding areas. Due to the declining population and economic stagnation, the city lost its town status in 1919. Things did not improve during the wars. More and more Jews left Żmigród and the area for bigger cities in Poland, or other cities in Europe and many left for the USA. Following World War II, Nowy (New) was added to the hamlet of Żmigród. Of course, the population of the hamlet changed entirely. Most of the Jews were killed and the survivors did not return to the hamlet except to participate in memorial services for their lost ones.

The Jewish community of Żmigród is a very old Jewish community that goes back to the Middle Ages when it had independent judicial powers that governed Jewish life in the community. The front of the synagogue still had a wooden hold where condemned Jews were tied up at the neck and feet to a wooden post for his transgressions. The judges were the rabbis of the community. The Jewish population expanded since the wine trade between Hungary and Poland expanded and provided Jewish merchants with nice incomes.

The Jews were never limited to a particular section of the hamlet but they concentrated in the center of the hamlet while the non-Jewish population concentrated on the outskirts of the hamlet. The Jews were drawn to Żmigród since it had no religious limitations and offered commercial opportunities, something very rare for Jews at the time. Hence, the Jewish community grew and became the largest in the area.

It built a massive synagogue in the 16th century that was later remodeled. According to Leo Rosner, son of Moses David Rosner and Ester Findling-Rosner, a native of Żmigród, the massive entrance door led you to “the inside of the synagogue [that] was very impressive and reminded one of an old style feudal ball room. The high dome was painted with a variety of animals and fish. The stained glass windows permitted the sun's rays to enter the synagogue in various colors. The “bima,” or stage, where the Torah is read was elevated and one had to ascend a few steps to reach it. A huge and massive chandelier provided light.

The upper walls had large scriptural quotes inscribed at specific intervals. The massive pillars upholding the synagogue inspired confidence amongst the worshippers. According to Jacob Leibner, the son of Ephraim and Shprince Leibner, an eagle representing the Polish kings was inserted in the wall of the synagogue. Nobody knew who inserted it or when it was inserted, nor do we know the reason or cause for its being granted to this synagogue. The fact remains that the royal Polish eagle was plastered into the wall not a very common


Massive metal entrance doors to the Żmigród synagogue


item in Jewish synagogues in Poland. The synagogue also owned several antique items, amongst them the washbasin and the ark curtain. The synagogue was declared a Polish

national historical monument by the Polish government following World War One. The small building was the “beit hamidrash,” or study center, that was also used as a synagogue

Zmigrd did not have a yeshiva in modern times but some bright Talmudic students that graduated from the various advanced cheders, or parochial schools, continued their daily studies in the study center. They started their studies at the crack of dawn and studied until morning services began and then resumed their intensive studies. The famous Hebrew poet Chaim Nachman Bialik dedicated a famous poem entitled “Matmid” or dedicated to these Yeshiva students.


Żmigróder yeshiva students
From left standing: Jacob Leibner and Moshe Berger
From left sitting: Wolf Gross, Yossef Nebentzahl and Ben Zion Nebe


Shimon Lang, a native of Żmigród who survived the Shoah

Very few local yeshiva students managed to reach the sleep away yeshivas, notably the famous yeshivas like Ponevezh or Slobodka. These yeshivas were very expensive and highly competitive. According to Shimon Lang, the nearest sleep-away yeshiva from Żmigród was in the city of Sosnowiec. He obtained all the letters of recommendation but the family could not afford the yeshiva and Shimon could not obtain a scholarship, so he continued to study at the study center with other students. The study center was also a place where retired people or those with time on their hands would come and continue their religious studies or listen to lectures. The place was heated in the winter and cool in the summer due to the thick walls. Few people read newspapers and the study center was also the place where information was passed about between the men.


The inside of the Żmigróder synagogue


The antique washbasin in the Żmigróder synagogue with an engraving dated 1606
A parochet, or holy ark curtain, dated 1670 (or Tal) at the synagogue


The main square of the hamlet of Żmigród. The picture is recent. Prior to World War II, the Catholic church in the center of the picture was surrounded by Jewish homes and stores


The “Pochenia,” or shopping passage, of Żmigród facing the market place of Żmigród. The shopping passage was destroyed during the war. Most of the storekeepers in the shopping passage were Jews


The Wisloka River flowing near Żmigród provided the mikvah,
or ritual bath, with a constant supply of fresh waters


The Żmigróder mikvah, or bathhouse, next to the river marked by the tall trees.
The building survived the war


Another very important Jewish institution in Żmigród was the mikvah that was an essential part of orthodox Jewish life. The ritual bath was open daily, winter and summer, and provided hot or cold baths. The bath was maintained by the community and the attendant was salaried by the kehilla.

The community also maintained a cemetery. The Żmigróder cemetery was very old and was used not only the Jewish residents of Żmigród but also the neighboring Jewish communities like Gorlice and Jaslo. These Jewish communities, such as Gorlice and Jaslo, were attached to the Jewish community of Żmigród and used the Jewish burial facilities of the hamlet. Jaslo used the Żmigród cemetery until about 1872.


The Żmigróder cemetery after World War Two


Jerzy Debiec, a Polish volunteer, is clearing the old Jewish cemetery in Żmigród.
Below are some of the old tombstones that were restored and cleared


The inscription reads: “He was an honest man and always followed the right path. Israel son of Shmuel. Passed away 12 days in Shvat 1856. May his soul rest eternally.” Żmigród Jewish cemetery


The inscription reads: “Here is buried an important and modest lady she was. Mrs. Miriam daughter of Sahar Itzhak. She passed away on the second day of Passover in the year 1839. May her soul rest eternally.” Żmigród cemetery


Cemetery plots had to be bought from the community, and sometimes negotiations lasted too long. The cemetery was very old and extensive. Some restoration is being done by a Polish volunteer from the area named Jerzy Debiec. He has already restored some burial stones. The cemetery was maintained by the community. In the winter there was a serious problem, for the ground was frozen and had to be thawed by building a fire to soften the ground so that the hevra kadisha, or burial society, could dig out the grave and bury the deceased. The hevra kadisha consisted of religious Jewish volunteers who considered burial activities a religious commandment.


The late Max (Mordechai) Findling (left) and Leo Rosner (right) on the road leading out of Żmigród. Both natives of Żmigród survived the Shoah


Żmigród steadily lost Jews. As a matter of fact, the first Jewish settlers of Jaslo were two Jews from Żmigród, Chaim Steinhaus and Leibish Widenfeld. Their example was followed by other Jews of Żmigród, namely the Zimets, the Citronenboims, the Engels, Rabbi Sinai Halbershtam and others. Jaslo grew at a rapid pace and so did the Jewish community of Jaslo.

Economic opportunities presented themselves and the Jews of Jaslo took advantage of them. Jaslo's gain was Żmigród's loss. As these communities grew, developed and even surpassed Żmigród, they gained their religious and communal independence. The great fire of 1577 and the war between the Cossacks and the Swedes further weakened the economic base of the city, especially the Jewish base, for the Jewish mainstay was commerce. The Jewish community took heavy loans to rebuild the economy of the town. It repaid these loans and was forced to take another loan in 1694 from the church in Krosno that was repaid in 1785.

In 1765, the Jewish community of Żmigród consisted of 683 Jews and another 1,263 Jews in the nearby villages. These figures included 159 head-households, which included 41 self employed, such as 1 tax collector, 2 shopkeepers, 8 tailors, 7 hat makers, 2 glove makers, 2 jewelers, 1 butcher, 1 rabbi, 1 cantor, 7 religious teachers and 1 musician. Jews owned 67 homes that were very overcrowded. Some homes had as many as 5 families living on top of each other.

In 1781, under Austrian rule, most taxpayers in the city were poor people. Żmigród had 350 taxpaying Jews of whom 181 paid less than 25 guilden [Austrian imperial currency], 160 paid between 25-100 guilden, 6 paid between 100-300 guilden and one person paid more than 300 guilden. The authorities forced the Jews of Żmigród to pay all the arrears, which amounted to 34 guilden. Under the edict of spreading the Jews out to the country, the Żmigród community undertook to resettle 17 families in the surrounding villages. Each family was to receive 250 florins. Only 4 families left the city by 1805.

The golden age of Jewish Żmigród lasted from the 16th century until the end of the 18th century. The rabbi of the community was very influential. The town had a yeshiva and some famous rabbis such as Rabbi Abraham in 1680 followed by his son Rabbi Yaacov, then Rabbi Menahem Mendel, followed by Rabbi Zeev Wolf Rimner [1698], Rabbi Abraham


The reconstructed tomb of Rabbi Chaim Halbershtam in Nowy Sacz Most of the rabbi's sons were also rabbis and were buried near their father


Shorr and Rabbi Yehoshua Heshel Blomfeld [1770]. With the economic decline of the city, the kehilla could no longer afford to attract influential rabbis. Most of the Jews of Żmigród were pious and Hasidic Jews. The most influential group of Hassidim in Żmigród was the followers of the rabbi of Sandz, the well-known tzadik Chaim Halbershtam who lived and passed away in Nowy Sacz or Sandz. His Hassidim played an important role in the selection of the town rabbi.

The first Sandzer rabbi in Żmigród was Rabbi Benyamin Zeev, a student of Rabbi Chaim of Sandz who founded the Sandzer Hasidic court. Rabbi Mordecai David Unger and Rabbi Asher Yeshayahu Rubin followed. Then in 1907, the town selected Rabbi Sinai Halbershtam as rabbi. He was a scion of the famous Halbershtam rabbinical family in Nowy Sacz, Galicia. He left Żmigród prior to World War II and his son, Aaron Halbershtam, became the last rabbi of Żmigród and Oshick (or Osiek Jasielski in Polish), a village next to Żmigród.

With the dismemberment of Poland, the Austrian Empire took control of most of Galicia. The Austrian Empire removed some of the travel restrictions and residence requirements for Jews. Many Jews began to leave Żmigród. Their example was followed by other Jews of Żmigród.

The cities of Jaslo, Krosno and Tarnow grew at a rapid pace and so did their Jewish communities. All of these cities were interconnected with new highways and railways. Cheap and massive transportation brought brought many industrialized products to Galicia including Żmigród. Many tailors, shoemakers and coachmen lost their source of income. The Jewish economic sector was hardly hit by the massive importation of industrial products. Many Jews of Żmigród lost all hope of making a living and decided to head to America to start anew.

As things became harsher in the small isolated hamlets like Żmigród, the number of Jews leaving the place increased by the day. Usually, the men left first to Hamburg, Germany where they embarked aboard ships heading to the USA. They then send money and tickets for their families to follow them to the new country. Occasionally, men broke all contacts with their family back home and left their families stranded. However, most families managed to join their husbands in America. Nathan Leibner also joined the wave of immigrants to the United States. He arrived and settled on the Lower East side of New York.


Nute Nathan Leibner in New York City about 1919


Nowy Żmigród PSA Births 1866-89 Lwow Wojewodztwa / Rzeszow Province
(records in Fond 573 in Skolyszyn Archive)

Surname Given Event Sig Year Sex Father Mother
LEIBNER Nute Natan            
LEIBNER Perel            
LEIBNER Efroim B 24 1868 M Nathan Perel
LEIBNER Saul Mendel B   1876 M Nathan Rose
LEIBNER Rachel Witte B   1877   Nathan Rose
LEIBNER Burech Leib B 9 1879   Nathan Rose
LEIBNER Moses Józef B   1881   Nathan Rose

The record is from the office of the birth registrar in Nowy Żmigród. The daughter, Sheindel Leibner born in 1874 to Nathan-Perel Leibner, is not listed. Also not recorded is the death of Burech Leib Leibner, who died shortly after his birth.

Nathan Leibner sent tickets for the entire family to come to the USA. Nathan's sister, Ester Leibner, refused to leave Żmigród and insisted that Nathan's oldest son Efroim Leibner remain with her since she had no family.

Efroim Leibner remained in Żmigród, grew up and married Shprince Ruchel Findling.


The late Ephraim Leibner was left in Żmigród, where the Germans killed him and his family at Halbow on July 7, 1942   Shprince Ruchel Findling Leibner, wife of Ephraim Leibner. She was killed at Halbow on July 7, 1942


The Leibner house in Żmigród


The Leibners were joined by the Krills, the Langs, the Findlings, the Kohens, the Stechers and many other families. They traveled by families or individuals and headed to the United States, primarily to New York City. Nathan moved to the Lower East side where there were many people from Żmigród. There was even a “shtibel,” or small synagogue, of Żmigróder Jews. They organized and incorporated a Żmigróder Jewish society named “Hebrah Benjamin Ze'ev-Anshei Żmigród,” or people of Żmigród. The president of the society was Louis Stern. The society was a mutual benefit society to help recent Żmigróder arrivals, to assist Jews in Żmigród and to acquire a burial site for Żmigróder Jews in New York. The stream of Jews continued. Nathan Leibner brought his entire family to the United States except for one son, Ephraim Leibner. Dozens of Żmigróder Jews did likewise.

Żmigród had its first blood libel case in March 1905. A Pole accused a Jewish family of planning to murder his daughter for ritual purposes. Five Jews, among them Yossef Tzimet, his wife, his son and two daughters, were arrested and held in prison during the lengthy investigation. Interventions from Vienna finally led to the release of the accused. The girl of 14 was subsequently found guilty of lying and sentenced to a three-month prison term at the courthouse of Jaslo, district city of the area. Feeling was very tense in town, and villagers kept coming to see the “holy maiden,” which caused quite a commotion in the area. Many years passed before Żmigród returned to a superficial calm.

The Jewish migration out of Żmigród continued unabated and even increased prior to and during World War I, when Jews left Żmigród before


Żmigróder society in New York City
incorporated on April 18, 1893


The advancing Russian army that eventually occupied and pauperized the Jewish population of the hamlet. The Russian army was known for its systematic looting of Jewish stores and homes. Despite the hardships, the Jews of Żmigród tried to help the Jaslo Jews during World War I by sending them a cart loaded with bread; but the Russian soldiers detected the merchandise and viciously attacked the driver, Henech Berger, with their whips and batons. The loaves of bread were tossed into the mud and trampled. Henech Berger, brother-in-law of Leibish Zimet from Żmigród, was lucky to escape alive and returned to Żmigród. The Austrians recaptured Żmigród but then the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed and Poland received its independence.

The independence was celebrated by staging an anti-Jewish pogrom. The pogrom began in Żmigród in November 1918. The pogrom started when a local mob with the help of outside villagers came to shop for “bargains.” The mob broke into Jewish homes and stores and looted and destroyed everything of value. Some Jews were beaten and injured. The Polish population stood by or helped the mob. The local police disappeared and frantic calls were made to Jaslo [district police office] for help. Police units arrived and restored order. They then reported that things were peaceful in Żmigród except for some Jewish troublemakers who had disturbed the peace.

World War I pauperized the Jewish community. A mutual aid society that was established in 1894 under the leadership of Chaskel Erdheim was reactivated in Żmigród to help the poor Jews and by 1929 it had distributed 30 loans. The society was assisted by the American Joint Organization, former Jews of Żmigród in the United States, and the American Żmigróder society in New York.

In contrast to the pervasive Jewish poverty, a magnificent synagogue stood, a remainder of the glorious past of Jewish Żmigród. The synagogue was declared a historical monument by the Polish government. The Jewish community, or “kehilla,” was represented by 12 and then by eight members who were elected by the members of the Jewish community. The rabbi was always a member of the kehilla council. The latter assessed and collected taxes that provided money for the cheder teachers, ritual slaughterers, mikvah attendants, synagogue and mikvah maintenance, the salary for the rabbi and cantor and the hevra kadisha, or burial society.

According to the late Max (Mordechai) Findling, son of Chaim and Sisel Findling, a native of Żmigród who survived the Shoah, Żmigród had a “cheder,” or religious school, for poor children behind the synagogue and smaller cheders for the well-to-do children. There were also cheders of higher learning.


The late Max (Mordechai) Findling


Max studied German with Rabbi Eller Inkberg. The official language was Polish, but the Jews spoke and wrote Yiddish. He attended the local public school that was mandatory. The elementary school reached seven grades. The environment at school was very anti-Semitic because the Jewish students were the best students; there were always fights. Max studied history, spelling, language, geography and arithmetic. Jewish boys wore “peyot,” or side curls, and hats or skullcaps. The Polish boys tried to rip off headgear from the Jewish boys. Sometimes the Polish students would bring pork sandwiches to school and tempt the Jews with their food. Public school was until 1:00 P.M.; then Max walked to cheder, where he stayed until after the “minha,” late afternoon prayer service in the evening. It was dark on the way home but he had a candle stuck in a potato that lit the way home.

Leo Rosner, also born in Żmigród on April 4, 1922, to Esther (Findling) and Moses David Rosner, also natives of Żmigród, wrote a book entitled “The Holocaust Remembered” in which he described very affectionately his experiences in his native hamlet. “In the winter Żmigród would be buried under what we called 'mountains of snow,' snow so high that it sometimes reached the tops of the houses. The townspeople would dig tunnels from one house to another, or would be unable to leave their homes for days at a time. Frost would cover the windows in tiny crystals, splashing sunlight against the walls.” There were other occasions, Rosner wrote, “when we would go ice-skating on a nearby frozen lake. As children, my friends and I would spend hours playing in the deep, fluffy snow. Sledding down the hillside was the main form of winter entertainment for the shtetl's, or town's, children. My parents had bought me a real sled, but there were times I didn't have my sled, and I would join the other children, sliding down the mountain on overturned tables.”

“Żmigród was a beautiful little mountain town located near Jaslo, about 150 kilometers east of Krakow and about 30 kilometers from the present day Slovak border. Żmigród was part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. In Żmigród, horse and wagon was the primary means of transportation. Jews sold supplies and housewares to the farmers, and the latter would sell agricultural products to the Jews of Żmigród. Most of the summer was spent buying and storing food for the winter season.

According to Rosner, “Żmigród was a Jewish community of approximately 1,200 Jewish families. It had numerous Jewish organizations, such as Agudath Israel, Mizrachi, Bnei Akiva, and Betaar. There was one Jewish doctor, a Jewish lawyer, and a Jewish dentist. There was only one telephone, located at the post office, and one radio for the whole community. The Jewish community kept very close together. A neighbor's wedding was everyone's holiday, and a stranger's funeral, everyone's sorrow.

“In the spring the sparkling white landscape would explode in color. The mountainsides would be covered with flowing green pastures; cows would roam the fields outside our town. The summer air was clean and fresh, perfectly accommodating to the joys of youth. We spent the warm days hiking through hills around our hometown or picking blackberries from the bushes. We enjoyed the sport of shooting plums and apples off trees with slingshots, along with games of soccer we would play with our young Polish neighbors.

“The town, too, would burst into life. The streets would become busy and fill up with people hustling to and fro. Mothers would go about their business pushing their babies in carriages, and children would sit around in the sun, singing songs. The town center would be transformed into a marketplace. Every morning the gentile farmers would bring their produce to sell to the local people.”

Most homes in Żmigród had dirt floors. There was no electricity or running water; gas lamps or kerosene lanterns or candles provided light. Some streets were not paved. There were no stoves as we know them; ovens and ceramic devices were used for heat and cooking. Most of the food was cooked and baked at home. There were stores of basic needs such as groceries, food, grains, fabrics, ironware, pots, hardware, and clothing. There was also a pharmacy and a Jewish restaurant. Most of the stores were located along a partially enclosed arcade. Most of the shopping was done at the market that took place one day a week. Here the nearby farmers sold their merchandise and bought many of their products.

The marketplace was also the place where the Polish population met the Jewish population. There were no social inter-relations between the two populations. Around Żmigród also lived a large Greek Orthodox population that the Jews called “Yevonim” or Greeks. Most of the Jews were merchants, peddlers and artisans. There were few Jewish workers. Żmigród had no industry to speak of. Most of Jewish life revolved around the synagogue or synagogue-related activities. There were a host of social or charitable societies that helped the poor, the sick, the orphans and the poor couples. There was a mutual financial fund to grant cheap loans to merchants and artisans.

In spite of the difficult economic situation, the Jews of Żmigród did not forget other Jews in need. Below is a sheet with names of the Jews who contributed to the maintenance of the Jewish community in Palestine.


Partial list of Żmigróder Jews contributing money to Meir Baal Hanes organization to help poor Jews in Palestine


The first sign of Zionism came to Żmigród with the opening, in 1919, of the first lecture hall named “Hatehiya” or reawakening. Some years later, the youth division of the General Zionist party opened the first Zionist youth branch in 1933; the Akiva religious Zionist group followed suit. The most active group was the Akiva Zionist Youth group. There was also the Mizrahi or moderate religious group and the Aguda, or very orthodox group.

The Zionist parties had to fight their way into the Jewish community since the majority of the Jews were orthodox or Hasidic Jews. The Zionist parties attracted the youth, who saw no outlet for themselves in Żmigród. So they went to the Zionist youth clubs, listened to lectures, music and spoke about Palestine. The clubhouses were frequently attacked by the very religious elements but this did not stop the growth of the Zionist movements in Żmigród. There was even a “hachshara,” or training farm, to teach young Zionist pioneers to be farmers in Palestine.

For the Zionist Congress selection in 1931, there were 25 dues-paying members in Żmigród and they voted for the center Zionist party. Most Zionist parties gained many adherents, since the Polish anti-Semitic laws drove the Jews to despair, notably the ban on Jewish slaughter of animals in 1937. All Jewish slaughterers in Żmigród were thus unemployed except for one butcher who could only slaughter chickens. Kosher meat had to be brought from the city of Jaslo. The economic decline of Jewish commerce continued, although the Jewish population remained static since the gates to


A Zionist meeting in Żmigród

Żmigród, 1935. The above photograph was taken around 1935 in Nowy Żmigród. We are not sure of the occasion. However, many of the folks have been identified.

Men standing, top row, left to right: Chaskel Bobker, Yankel Czeszanover, Peisseh Kratzer, Mina Getz, Moshe Einhorn, Nachman Wrubel (Nachmu Kiszku), Lisze Shtein.
Second row, left to right: Sima Leibner, Chaim Kaufman, Seril Leibner, Tema Haber, Mina ?, Haya Blauground, ? Zimet and David Lang (man with the large hat).
Third Row, standing, left to right: Haim Leib's daughter, Shapse Haber, Leah Shamir, Haya Findling, David Weinberg, Dolish Blauground, woman-unknown, woman-unknown, Suniv Stein.
Sitting: Hersh Stecher (with his child), Frumit (Yankel Sziszter'sdaughter), Suniv Kreiss, Szmeil Getz, Scheindel Stecher Getz (Mrs. Oszer Getz), Jakiv Itche Getz, Sheindel Krebs, Baruch Krebs. Children: first three belong to Hersch Stecher, youngest Getz boy, boy-unknown.


the United States were almost closed due to the quota system that practically eliminated Jews from entering the United States. With the rise of Hitler, Germany was not only closed to Jewish migration but Jews were forced to leave Germany.


Top registration note states that Jakob Leibner left his Żmigród residence and moved to Krosno to the Lang residence in the marketplace. Bottom note states that he left Żmigród. The Polish government maintained a close watch over the movement of people. The documents were those of my father, Jakob Leibner, who left Żmigród where he lived to go to Krosno to marry my mother, Seril Lang


Some Jews came back to Poland, and even Żmigród received some former Jewish residents. Western European countries slowly closed their borders to Jewish migrants. The Jews of Poland were thus landlocked and the escape valve for emigration was almost closed. Of course, the Polish government knew how many Jews lived in Poland, as shown by the above residence notes, but it never published official statistics after the last official census in 1921. Everybody estimated the Jewish population. Żmigród was estimated to have about 800 Jews in September 1939, according to the Polish researcher of the area, Andzej Potocki. The Jews had no place to go, except to move inside Poland if the opportunity presented itself. The Polish authorities kept a close watch over the movement of people, especially Jews, and recorded every change.


Bnei Akiba, Zionist youth meeting in Żmigród

Bnei Akiba: from a gathering of Zionist Youth in Żmigród.Survivors living in Israel have assisted with the identification of those pictured left to right:

Back Row, Standing: ? Krischer, ?, ? Kranz, ?, Schabson Haber, Meir Gross, ? Rosenman, girl in white?, Ester Laks, Tova Krischer, girl?, Manya Laks, Mojsze Holihock Weinsztein, Berta Kreps (white collar), Dawid Haber, Chaja Ester Findling, man behind ?, Berish Berger, Jacob Findling, Lajzer Beer (hat), ?, Mojsze Beer (dark suit)
Kneeling: ?, Chaja Hirszel (white collar), Raizl Leibner, Mendl Wimiszner, Barish Berger (tie), Jacobitze (Itzak) Zanger, Schprinca Ingber (girl in front), Berta Lachs, Mojsze Leibner, Berish Krebs (white shirt & tie), Henoch Rotenberg (behind), Schlomo Gross (white shirt & tie), ? Findling (in Hat)
Girls Sitting, front row: ? Kranz, ?, ? Rosenman, Szlomo Kranz, Sara Wimiszner, plaque, Golda Laks, Laibisz Szperling, ? Rosenman, Golda Bobker.


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